How To Feed Your Chickens: A Comprehensive Guide

Types Of Feed For Chicks

When it comes to feeding your chicks, there are two primary options: mash and crumbles feed. Mash feed is finely ground, while crumbles feed is coarsely ground. Both options provide the necessary nutrients for the growing chicks.

The choice between the two depends on personal preference and the age of the chicks. Mash feed is commonly used for very young chicks because it is easy for them to consume. As they grow older, you can switch to crumbles feed, which is easier for them to pick up.

Key Points:

  • Two primary options for feeding chicks: mash and crumbles feed
  • Mash feed is finely ground, while crumbles feed is coarsely ground
  • Both options provide necessary nutrients for growing chicks
  • Mash feed is commonly used for very young chicks
  • Crumbles feed is easier for older chicks to pick up

Note: The choice of feed depends on personal preference and the age of the chicks.

Feed Options For Vaccinated And Non-Vaccinated Chicks

When choosing feed for your chicks, it is crucial to take into account their vaccination status. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Vaccinated chicks: If your chicks have already been vaccinated, it is recommended to provide them with non-medicated feed. By receiving the necessary vaccinations, these chicks are protected against common poultry diseases.

  2. Non-vaccinated chicks: For non-vaccinated chicks, it is advisable to offer them medicated feed. This can help prevent potential illnesses, particularly coccidiosis, which is a common intestinal infection in young chicks.


“The health of your chicks greatly depends on the appropriate choice of feed.”

Protein Needs For Meat Birds (Broilers)

Meat birds, or broilers, have higher protein requirements compared to other types of chickens. This is because they need to grow rapidly and develop muscle mass. It is recommended to provide a feed with a high concentration of protein specifically formulated for broilers. This will ensure that they receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development.

Importance Of Calcium In The Diet Of Laying Hens

Laying hens require higher amounts of calcium in their diet to support the production of eggshells. Inadequate calcium intake can result in thin or brittle eggshells, which can lead to difficulties during laying. To address this, it is crucial to provide hens with a specialized layer feed that contains extra calcium. This formulated diet plays a vital role in ensuring the maintenance of strong eggshells and promoting optimal reproductive health.

  • Laying hens have a higher demand for calcium due to eggshell production
  • Inadequate calcium can lead to thin or brittle eggshells
  • Specialized layer feed with extra calcium is necessary
  • Formulated diet helps maintain strong eggshells and reproductive health.

Feeding Schedule For Broilers

Broilers should be provided with unlimited starter feed for the first three to four weeks of their lives. This ensures that they receive a constant supply of nutrients and encourages healthy growth. After this initial period, you can gradually transition them to a grower or finisher feed, which is designed to support their specific nutritional needs as they continue to develop.

Chicken’s Omnivorous Diet

Chickens are omnivores, capable of consuming a wide range of foods. Apart from their regular feed, they can also eat grains, fruits, vegetables, insects, snakes, and lizards. This diverse diet ensures that chickens obtain essential nutrients for their overall health and well-being. However, it is crucial to be cautious and avoid feeding them toxic or harmful foods (more details in the next section).

Safe Kitchen Scraps For Chickens

Most kitchen scraps are safe for chickens and can be a valuable addition to their diet. Vegetable peels, such as carrot or potato peels, are nutritious and can be given to chickens. Fruits like bananas, apples, and berries are also suitable for them to eat. However, it is important to avoid giving chickens avocados and onions, as they can be toxic to them. Additionally, be cautious about giving them high-fat or high-salt food scraps, as these may not be suitable for their digestive system.

Digestive Needs Of Chickens: Grit And Clean Water

Chickens need grit to aid their digestion. Grit refers to small, hard particles like small rocks or sand that chickens ingest to help grind down their food in the gizzard. Providing chickens with access to grit is essential for proper digestion.

In addition to grit, clean water is also vital for chickens to stay hydrated and maintain overall health. It is important to ensure that chickens have access to fresh and clean water at all times.

To ensure the health and well-being of your chickens, it is crucial to provide the right feed and a varied diet. Take into consideration the specific needs of different types of chickens, such as broilers and laying hens, and adjust their feed accordingly.

Furthermore, be mindful of the kitchen scraps you offer to your chickens. Make sure they are safe for consumption. Additionally, provide them with essential grit and clean water to support their digestion.

It is important to monitor your chickens’ feeding behavior and seek professional advice when necessary. This will help ensure the optimal health of your flock.

How many times a day should I feed my chickens?

To ensure the well-being of your chickens, feeding them twice a day is crucial. By offering two pellet meals, you provide the necessary nutrients and energy they need to thrive. Whether you choose to give the meals manually or through a feed dispenser, splitting them into one small portion in the morning and another in the evening helps maintain their health and satisfaction throughout the day. This feeding schedule gives the chickens consistent access to the necessary sustenance, supporting their overall growth and vitality.

What is the healthiest way to feed chickens?

The healthiest way to feed chickens is to provide a balanced diet with a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Opt for a variety of leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, as they are rich in essential nutrients. Supplement their diet with cooked beans, grains like quinoa and wheat, and non-sugary cereals for a good source of carbohydrates. Additionally, offering fruits like berries and apples can provide necessary vitamins and antioxidants. However, it is important to avoid giving chickens foods that are high in sugar, such as chocolate or candy, as well as any spoiled or moldy food which can be harmful to their digestive system. By providing a diverse and wholesome diet, you can ensure the health and vitality of your chickens.

How do you feed chickens for beginners?

Feeding chickens for beginners is a relatively straightforward process. To start, ensure that the chicks are provided with unlimited starter feed for the first three to four weeks of their lives. This specially formulated feed is designed to meet their nutritional needs during their early stages of growth. After this initial period, transition them to adult meat-bird pellets, which will provide them with the necessary nutrients for healthy development.

Once the chickens have reached adulthood, it's important to allow them free access to unlimited feed for 12 hours a day. This will ensure that they receive the necessary sustenance to maintain their health and meet their dietary requirements. However, it is crucial to remove the feed for the remaining 12 hours of the day. This practice helps regulate their intake, preventing overeating and potential health issues. By following these feeding guidelines, beginners can ensure their chickens receive proper nutrition while promoting a balanced diet and healthy growth.

Can I just throw chicken feed on the ground?

Absolutely not! It is highly advised against throwing chicken feed on the ground. Times have certainly evolved when it comes to the way we nourish our feathered friends. Nowadays, we prioritize the health and productivity of our birds, understanding that eating off the floor is unhygienic and potentially harmful. Instead, chickens should be provided with a designated feeding area or a proper feeder to ensure they receive clean and appropriate nutrition. This simple change can greatly contribute to the overall well-being and productivity of our feathered companions.